State of the Town
Sublette County Chamber of Commerce Community Conversation luncheon
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
March 18, 2010
The Sublette County Chamber of Commerce hosted a Community Conversation luncheon on Thursday in the Lovatt Room of the Sublette County Library in Pinedale.
Speaking were Sublette Chamber Executive Director Terrie Swift, giving Chamber of Commerce highlights, Alexis Berg-Director of the Sublette Economic Resource Council (SERC) speaking on the Eureka Jump Start workshop, Kate Grimes-Planning & Zoning Administrator for the Town of Pinedale speaking on the Main Street Project, Jeff Hosea with Pinedale Travel and Tourism Action Committee speaking on the Pinedale Lodging Tax, and Pinedale Mayor Steve Smith giving a "State of the Town" address.
Terrie Swift said the Chamber is starting a new initiative called "Live Local," in which they hope to take the ‘buy local’ campaign to a new level of community involvement by raising awareness around the benefits of re-investing local dollars in Sublette County. The Chamber is launching a logo competition for the "Live Local" initiative. The artist with the selected design will win $200. Entries will be accepted between April 2nd and May 3rd, 2010. The Chamber will also host Wyoming Secretary of State Max Maxfield in Pinedale on April 22nd to speak about the lodging tax. On April 23rd, the Chamber will host a Marketing 2010 workshop.
Alexis Berg, Director of the Sublette Economic Resource Council (SERC), spoke about the "Eureka! Jump Start" workshop for business idea incubation (cost is $1000) with sessions to be held April 26th and 27th in Pinedale and Big Piney.
Kate Grimes, Planning & Zoning Administrator for the Town of Pinedale, is heading up the Main Street Project initiative. They will be hosting a Main Street Mixer in Pinedale on April 8th.
Jeff Hosea, working on the Pinedale Travel & Tourism Action Committee, spoke on behalf of the Pinedale Lodging tax effort. He said Pinedale residents don’t pay the tax. They plan to do internet marketing, multi-media pieces, event promotion, public relations and cooperative ads with Wyoming Tourism Association. The board estimates the lodging tax will generate from $200,000 to $250,000 per year. Of those funds, the Town of Pinedale will get 10% off the top for their discretionary fund to use however the Town wants ($20,000-$25,000 into the Town coffers); 10-20% would go for special event promotion to be given to profit or non-profit entities; and 80-90% would go for tourism promotion. When asked if the Town planned to hire an executive director to administer the lodging tax, and if so what salary would that person receive, Hosea and Mayor Smith said they hadn’t made that decision yet. Swift said their priority is getting the tax passed first.
Mayor Smith gave kudos to his staff and to all the people who volunteer on the various Town boards. He said the Town’s budget has grown to $28 million per year in the past decade, but now the economy has slowed down and the Town is realigning their budget and streamlining expenses. Smith outlined the Town’s work on infrastructure for sewer, streets and sidewalks with another round of work to begin next spring. The new Town Public Works Shop building was designed to meet their needs for the next 20 years, housing maintenance as well as the new town animal shelter. The Town is implementing a new Ultra Violet system to purify the town drinking water from Fremont Lake. Mayor Smith said the Town’s new website will be revealed this month and new features include posting meeting minutes, video of meetings, and a new GIS system (www.townofpinedale.us. Smith said Pinedale is a positive place and, "We are fortunate so many families and individuals select Pinedale as their home."